So you are considering buying a credit card or PDQ machine? I’m sure the biggest question on your mind is: How much do PDQ machines cost, and will they process your customer’s payments securely?

Here is the top guide which will answer all of your questions, and more. Including the most affordable and reliable PDQ machines from trusted suppliers. Let’s get cracking!

Types of Credit Card & PDQ Machines

In 2019, there are 4 types of PDQ devices available to businesses throughout the UK. In general these can be broken down into these main categories: 

  • Mobile machines are portable devices which work off a GPRS connection and do not require a fixed internet connection. These hand-held and lightweight machines are a great option for small businesses, tradesmen or anyone who drive for a living – such as taxi drivers.
  • Static machines are the traditional till-based countertop devices which work by being physically connected to your phone or internet line. They are a rather basic and considerably cheaper option for retail merchants where customers pay for their purchases at the checkout.  
  • Portable machines which are more commonly known as ‘wireless terminals’ are a great option for those businesses in the food & beverage and hospitality sectors. This portable device requires a regular charge so it does need to be stored close to its base stand. While a more expensive choice, it does provide merchants with flexibility when taking payment from their customers.
  • Smart Device Payment Apps transform your iPhone, iPad or smartphone into a PDQ machine without the need to purchase a physical machine. Once a merchant purchases and downloads the application to their device, they can take payments at any time and place provided they are connected to either a mobile network or the internet. 

Our favourite Machines

When considering what machine to purchase for a business, a number of factors come into play including the nature of the business, the budget available and the volume of transactions that are foreseen. Notwithstanding the rapid changes that are constant in card payment technology, we have drawn up a list of our top credit card and PDQ machines – which is available beneath. 

The static machines

  • Ingenico Desk/3000 series Machine 

The ‘Ingencio Desk/3000’ series machine is a great option for those looking for a countertop PDQ device. This intuitive terminal accepts Smartcard, Magstripe, contactless payment and its dedicated card-reader zone facilitates NFC payment. The eco-designed device comes with a colour-display as standard, maximized network availability and a faster transaction speed.   

A full description is available here: Ingenico Desk/3000 series 

  • Vega3000 Countertop Card Machine

The widely used Vega3000 countertop machine comes with a high quality microprocessor that enables merchants to process payments quickly and securely. This newly designed and sturdy device which offers WiFi, GPRS, Bluetooth and USB connectivity represents a cost-effective solution for sole traders and small businesses alike. It can process payments of all types including contactless, contact, magnetic stripe and in recent times a touchscreen version has been launched!

A full description is available here: Vega3000 Countertop Card Machine

The mobile machines

  • Ingenico Link/2500 Companion Machine

This mobile card machine with its distinctive thin frame contains a user-friendly, intuitive interface featuring an edge-design, bright 2.4” colour display and is EMV Chip & Pin and swipe enabled. The ‘Link/2500’ accepts most payment methods including NFC/contactless, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and is designed with flexibility in mind. This palm-sized device is a great choice for anyone who might travel for work.  

A full description is available here: Ingenico Link/2500 Companion

  • WorldPay Move 5000

The ‘Move 5000’ which features an extendable battery life and comes with a separate charging station is a suitable solution for business owners in the restaurant, cafe and pub industries. This mobile card terminal accepts a variety of contactless payments including Apple Pay, Android and Samsung Pay through a Bluetooth or WiFi connection. In addition, the device comes as a package with bonus extras.  

A full description is available here: WorldPay Move 5000

The portable machines

  • Ingenico iWL/200 series Machine

The ‘Ingenico iWL’ series is a portable, secure and lightweight device designed to operate in a variety of environments. The smallest terminal on the market provides a colour display, magstripe, a fantastic battery life and elevated security through SRED POI open security protocols. It has been designed with small merchants, hospitality and mobile business in mind and even comes with a fast printer for those receipts.

Full description available here: Ingenico iWL/200 series

  • 1-2-1 Mobile GPRS Terminal

A dual portable and mobile payment solution, the 1-2-1 Mobile GPRS Terminal comes with extensive coverage across the UK through its partner networks – Vodafone, O2 and Orange. Once again this device from Barclaycard is most suitable for merchants in the hospitality space. It comes with a fantastic Bluetooth range and even allows for the management of tips for individual staff members through its built-in ‘Waiter Total’ function.  

Full description available here: 1-2-1 Mobile GPRS Terminal

The Smart Device Payment App

  • SmartTrade App

SmartTrade offer their leading payment application to merchants across the UK, including a free trial. Once downloaded to either an iOS or Android device, the software transforms it into a portable payment machine.  The military-grade encryption technology protects a wide variety of face-to-face payments carried out for all major credit and debit cards including Visa, Mastercard and Amex.

Full description available here: SmartTrade App

Should you buy or rent a PDQ machine?

There are significant pros and cons associated with both buying and renting a credit card or PDQ machine.  While you can get some great devices directly from machine suppliers, a good strategy to adopt is searching for providers which include a PDQ machine for free once you take advantage of their services. These companies usually do charge a monthly minimum fee for the package. 

If a merchant has cash on hand and can afford it, then buying a device is a good idea. The price of machine is very much dependent on its individual features with the price range of between £200 – £800 in 2019. 

While this might sound like an expensive proposition at the time, purchasing a machine outright is a one-off cost and frees a business from the potential of being tied into a long contract inclusive of monthly fees. 

Secondly, owning a machine affords a business the freedom to switch merchant services providers enabling it to take advantage of a better rate and saving money in the long run.  

A business can easily rent a PDQ machine from a services provider when their budget is limited or when they want to give the solution ‘a try’ before outright purchase. 

Rental fees are quite affordable for all businesses from sole traders to bigger organisations, and are currently in the range of £20 to £30 a month. This fee usually covers the maintenance and repairs that may be required to be carried out on the device.

Any provider that insists on a lengthy contract normally replaces rented machines with new and updated models once they are released. For other merchants who need a short-term payment solution, renting can be the answer without getting into a long-term commitment. 

Our Advice

A credit card & PDQ machine can be an efficient and cost effective method for businesses of all sizes to accept payment from customers on a daily basis. 

Merchants who are new to the card payment game should be sure to follow some of the steps beneath before they commit.  

  • Ensure access to 24/7 customer support.
  • Find out if additional supplies are included in the asking price.
  • Ensure your machine is compatible with existing merchant account.
  • Confirm the delivery date of your machine ahead of time.